QuTech creates network with ‘unhackable’ quantum keys via existing fiber optic network

Researchers from the Dutch QuTech and KPN have a centralized network for sending quantum keys over an existing fiber optic network. It should enable an unhackable, encrypted network without major changes to the internet infrastructure.

The network consists of nodes in Delft, Rijswijk and The Hague, with Rijswijk forming a central node that is comparable to an old-fashioned telephone exchange. Delft and The Hague are the two communicating nodes, which send qubits to the central node. The node detects the qubits in a certain way, and the information released by this detection can be used by the sending nodes (using the quantum entangled qubits) to establish a quantum encrypted connection.

Because the data that is sent is quantum entangled, it is theoretically impossible to read how this security key is created without detection. If the signals threaten to be tapped anyway, this can be read from the qubits and the security key is rejected. The technique is measurement-device-independent quantum key distribution (mdi-qkd) mentioned. Moreover, the central node itself cannot pose a risk of eavesdropping, because the reading of the central node is also noticeable to the participants of the network.

An important advantage of this network is that it can connect more than two participants, so it is more scalable than the early quantum networks developed so far. In addition, each node can be used as a repeater to carry users’ signals at a greater distance.

Research into quantum computing is an important and growing part of the Netherlands’ strategy. Quantum Delta NL director Jesse Robbers received an investment of 615 million euros from the government in April. QuTech is one of the participating parties of Quantum Delta NL.

Source: QuTech

Source: Hardware Info Compleet by nl.hardware.info.

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